Emmanuel Fontaine is both energy adviser at the City of Mouscron and one of the energy cooperative’s trustees. He told us about the long, but enriching process that led to the creation of this unique energy cooperative. According to this cheerful Belgian, with a clear passion for his work, such a project requires perseverance, tenacity and strong motivation.
Last December we have met Sofie Verhoeven in her office in the city hall of Ghent. Sofie is in charge of citizen participation in this beautiful and vibrant city in the Flemish part of Belgium. Ghent counts over 500 local initiatives, including one of the most pioneering renewable community neighbourhood.
“I do it for my children and I want to be able to look them in the eye and tell them that I tried and that our family tried.” I am about halfway through the interview with Michèle Jacobs when she says this and it leaves me a bit stunned.
Crowned the world’s most liveable city in 2018 it is easy to assume that when it comes to cooperation with other cities, it’s more about what they can learn from the Austrian capital than vice-versa – but that’s not the way Julia Girardi-Hoog describes things.
His city’s name is unpronounceable, but “Väk-tchö” resonates whenever local fossil-free strategies are being discussed. Bo Frank, its Lord Mayor, is proud of “the world’s greenest city” and explains how their got their and what more still needs to be done.
Stephan Brandligt, Deputy Mayor of Delft, explains the Dutch way of city-to-city cooperation and how this will be crucial for the next XXL district heating system.